Farmers in England and Wales are more positive about the future of farming than they were at the start of the decade, according to the ADAS Farmers’ Voice Survey.

Over 2000 farmers were questioned as part of the annual “state of the nation” survey which was carried out in February 2009.

This year’s results show that despite the current economic crisis affecting many industries, business performance in farming is improving.

The survey found that 30% of farmers are now managing to maintain their profit level, compared to only 4% in 2000.

The proportion of farmers who think their business may not survive has more than halved over the same time period from 10% to 4%.

Since the survey was first undertaken there has also been a big increase in the number of farmers now happy to stay in farming for the foreseeable future. In 2000 the figure was 14% but by 2009 this had risen to 39%.

Mark Temple, a senior ADAS consultant, says: “The findings from the survey are a timely insight into the views and perceptions of the farming industry. Questions about farmers’ attitudes to the future of farming have been consistently asked since the survey began, creating good opportunities for ADAS and our clients to study farming trends over time.”

“The growing proportion who think they will stay in farming as they currently do, and the smaller proportion expecting to have to change farm practice, could be seen as a sign of financially more stable times for most farmers and is a positive sign for the future. However this is lagging indicator of recent better times rather than an assessment of the future”

“Clearly, higher farm product prices experienced by many farming sectors have affected the attitudes of the survey respondents as far fewer farmers now believe farming has no future, a message we are keen to share across the industry.”

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